Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry applauds Legislature, Gov. Ducey for adoption of Drought Contingency Plan
CEO Hamer: “Arizona’s business community cannot overstate how important adoption of the Drought Contingency Plan is for our state’s future.”
PHOENIX (January 31, 2019)—The Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry applauded the Arizona state Legislature, Gov. Doug Ducey and water leaders from across the state for their successful completion of work on the Drought Contingency Plan.
Adoption of the DCP was identified as the Chamber’s top priority for 2019 due to the agreement’s direct impact on the state’s ability to grow economically in the years to come. Were Lake Mead’s water levels to drop to dangerously low levels, federal intervention would occur and future development would face severe hurdles.
“Arizona’s business community cannot overstate how important adoption of the Drought Contingency Plan is for our state’s future,” Arizona Chamber President and CEO Glenn Hamer said. “Thanks to the diligent, responsible, and bipartisan work of Gov. Ducey, the state Legislature, and water stakeholders from urban and rural communities, Arizona has sent a message loud and clear that the state will have the resources necessary to thrive in the years to come and that our state’s leaders are willing partners in future multistate water stewardship negotiations. This is a once-in-a-generation accomplishment and it take its place alongside the 1980 Groundwater Management Act in significance.”
The Chamber in 2018 participated in a months-long Water Steering Committee process that resulted in the legislative package the Legislature passed on Thursday.
“Arizona is so fortunate to have leaders like Arizona Department of Water Resources Director Tom Buschatzke, Central Arizona Project General Manager Ted Cooke, and the many business, agricultural, and municipal leaders who came together in the steering committee to forge the agreement that gives Arizona greater control over its water future,” Hamer said. “The steering committee process was incredibly valuable. The committee’s state legislative members, Sen. Gail Griffin, Sen. Lisa Otondo, Speaker Rusty Bowers, and Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon devoted tremendous time and energy to studying the oftentimes extremely complicated issues and shared their knowledge and sense of urgency with their fellow lawmakers. We also extend our sincere thanks to former Sen. Jon Kyl and former Ariz. Gov. Bruce Babbitt for providing the historical insight and policy expertise that helped make today possible.”
The deal could not have been reached, however, without the relentless pursuit of an agreement by Gov. Ducey, Hamer said.
“Because of his never-wavering commitment to bringing all affected parties together over the must-pass DCP, Gov. Ducey now stands among the giants of Arizona water policy like Jon Kyl, Bruce Babbitt, and Carl Hayden,” Hamer said. “Without Gov. Ducey’s leadership, this deal doesn’t get done. The Arizona of tomorrow is stronger and more vibrant because of Doug Ducey.”
The final measures, SB1227 and SJR1001, passed each legislative chamber by a wide margin, granting ADWR Director Buschatzke the authority to sign onto the multi-state DCP. Arizona is the only state that required legislative approval to join the agreement.
“Credit to legislative leadership in both parties for focusing on what’s best for Arizona throughout the process that made the DCP a reality,” Hamer said. “House Speaker Rusty Bowers, House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez, Senate President Karen Fann, and Senate Minority Leader David Bradley all led their respective caucuses with tremendous professionalism and a commitment to responsible governance. I know the session has a long way to go, but I am hopeful that this level of bipartisan cooperation is a harbinger of things to come.”
Hamer said the state is well positioned for future water negotiations with other Colorado River states.
“We know that there remains much work to be done to ensure the Colorado River can power the Arizona economy and that of the other basin states in the decades to come. I have every confidence that Gov. Ducey and Arizona’s water leaders will enter into upcoming conversations ready to meet the responsibility of ensuring a brighter future for the next generation.”
Congressional action is now required to implement the federal components of the DCP.
“Arizona’s water leaders have done their job, now it’s time for Congress to do its job,” Hamer said. “The Chamber will be working with the state’s congressional delegation and the administration to ensure that all facets of the DCP are secured.”
Throughout the DCP process, the Arizona Chamber Foundation, the Chamber’s research arm, produced important analyses on Arizona water policy and the DCP, sharing its researchers’ findings with lawmakers in order to facilitate a greater understanding of the issue’s complexities. You can find the Foundation’s water policy briefs on its website.
Earlier this week, the Chamber helped lead a coalition of over 60 members of the business community who lent their name to a statement of support for the DCP’s passage.
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